A French minister has warned that a Brexit could ‘scupper’ Franco-UK border controls, moving the so-called ‘Jungle’ refugee camp from Calais to the British side of the English Channel.
Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that if the UK chose to leave the European Union later this year, it would risk ending the Le Touquet agreement which allows British immigration checks to be established on French soil.
This could allow refugees to cross the Channel unchecked, Macron suggested.
“The day this relationship unravels, migrants will no longer be in Calais and the financial passport would work less well,” Macron told the Financial Times ahead of an Anglo-French summit in Amiens attended by French President Francois Hollande and British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The French authorities have started to demolish and evacuate the southern part of the ‘Jungle’ Calais camp with 3,450 residents - including 300 unaccompanied children. Tension between riot police and refugees and activists has been high.
A group of 12 Iranian refugees sewed their lips shut on Wednesday and started a hunger strike to protest the forced move.
Almost 5,500 refugees reside in the camp according to UK-based NGO Calais Action.
Macron also warned that France would roll out a "red carpet" for London's bankers if the UK voted in June to leave the EU, adding that Britain would lose full access to the single European market.
"If I were to reason like those who roll out red carpets, I would say we might have some repatriations from the City of London,” he said.
“People deciding to leave the single market will not be able to secure the same terms,” he continued.
Britain’s referendum on its EU membership will be held on June 23.